Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

7.0 earthquake hits southern Peru.

5.8 earthquake hits the Macquarie Island region.

5.5 earthquake hits Santiago del Estero, Argentina.

5.4 earthquake hits Mindanao in the Philippines.

5.3 earthquake hits Kepulauan Mentawai, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits off the east coast of North Island, New Zealand.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 16p (tc) (Pola), located approximately 585 nm south-southeast of Suva, Fiji, is tracking south-southeastward at 11 knots.

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Wildlife

Seaweed Invasion

Mexico dispatched resources from three branches of government to fight a record plague of sargassum seaweed that has been piling up on stretches of Caribbean resort beaches.

The influx has spread across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to as far north as Florida since 2011.

While scientists have yet to pinpoint the exact cause, they agree that the phenomenon is not entirely natural.

Floating mats can harm marine life such as the sea turtles that struggle to surface beneath the weight of the invading plants.

Mexico is looking at ways to collect the seaweed before it reaches the shore, then transport it to facilities that dry and compress it for potential commercial use.

Flamingo Rescue

About 2,000 infant flamingos have been rescued in South Africa after a drought forced the parents to abandon their chicks.

The protracted dry spell combined with water mismanagement by local authorities has all but dried up a reservoir that has been one of southern Africa’s largest flamingo breeding sites.

Some conservation experts question why nature was not allowed to take its course. But Leslie Ernst of the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds told reporters: “I think we all feel very motherly toward (the flamingos).” Additionally, the crisis was partly human-caused.

The group is working to find enough room for the rescued chicks to run and exercise their legs before eventually being released back into the wild.

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Global Warming

Climate change shrinking fish populations worldwide

Warming oceans from human-caused climate change has shrunk the populations of many fish species around the world, according to a study released Thursday.

Overfishing and poor fisheries management have only intensified the problem.

Some of the biggest drops were In the seas near China and Japan, where fish populations dropped by as much as 35 percent from 1930 to 2010, the decades analyzed in the study. Globally, the drop is 4.1 percent for many species of fish and shellfish, according to the study.

Keeping fish stocks plentiful is vital, the study says, since Earth’s oceans have become a crucial source of food for the planet’s rapidly growing population. In fact, more than 50 million people around the world earn a living by fishing, and seafood provides about half of the protein eaten by people in developing nations, according to the study.

“We recommend that fisheries managers eliminate overfishing, rebuild fisheries and account for climate change in fisheries management decisions,” the study said.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.7 degrees Celsius) in Learmonth, Western Australia.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 66.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 54.4 degrees Celsius) at Russia’s Vostok base, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Australia

A complex fire system with a collective area of almost 400,000 hectares has been burning within the Shire of Esperance this week, with fears it could last weeks if not months.

Several fires were started by lightning in a number of areas including Cape Le Grand, Boyatup, the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, Salmon Gums, and a very large fire north of Cascade Road that has now spread across Lake King road.

Wildfires – Malacca

There were 378 cases of farm, forest and bush fires in the state in the first two months of the year as the country is hit by a hot and dry spell. Melaka Fire and Rescue Department said from the total, bush fires were the highest with 357 cases compared with forest fires (11 cases) and farm fires (10 cases).

Disease

Measles – Philippines

In a follow-up on the measles epidemic in the Philippines, government officials report a nearly 1,000 case increase in a one day period. As of Feb. 26, a total of 13,723 cases have been reported, including 215 fatalities since the beginning of the year.

Anthrax – Tanzania

Health officials in Tanzania are reporting an anthrax outbreak in Moshi District, Kilimanjaro Region in northern Tanzania. Dozens were sickened after consuming an anthrax tainted cow. 4 people are dead with at least 8 additional were hospitalized for their illness at two different hospitals.

African Swine Fever – China

Chinese agricultural officials are reporting a new African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in Shaanxi Province. The outbreak, which occurred on a Jingbian County, Yulin City farm of 11,334 pigs, resulted in the death of 62 swine.

Ebola – DR Congo

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak is continuing with moderate intensity. Katwa and Butembo remain the major health zones of concern, while simultaneously, small clusters continue to occur in various geographically dispersed locations. During the last 21 days (6 – 26 February 2019), 77 new cases have been reported from 33 health areas.

Volcanos

Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the week of 20 February – 26 February 2019

Agung | Bali (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that at 1631 on 22 February an event at Agung generated an ash plume that rose 700 m and drifted E. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) with the exclusion zone set at a 4-km radius.

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that incandescence from Minamidake crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was occasionally visible during 18-25 February. At 0059 on 22 February an event generated a plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim and ejected material 600-900 m from the crater. During 22-25 February there were two events, one of which was explosive. Plumes rose as high as 1.2 km, and material as ejected as far as 900 m from the crater. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Cleveland | Chuginadak Island (USA) : AVO reported that unrest at Cleveland continued during 20-24 February, though no activity was detected in seismic or infrasound data. Elevated surface temperatures were identified in satellite images; weather clouds sometimes prevented views of the volcano. Satellite data showed continued subsidence of the lava dome with no evidence of new lava. On 25 February the Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory.

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite data, wind model data, and notices from PVMBG, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 20-24 February ash plumes from Dukono rose to altitudes of 1.8-2.7 km (6,000-9,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted W, SW, SE, and E. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and visitors were warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions during 15-22 February that sent ash plumes to 3.6 km (11,800 ft) a.s.l. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Great Sitkin | Andreanof Islands (USA) : On 25 February AVO reported that seismicity at Great Sitkin had decreased to background levels during the past month and there was no evidence of explosive activity. The Aviation colour Code was lowered to Green and the Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Normal.

Ibu | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 25-26 February ash plumes from Ibu rose to altitudes of 2.4-3 km (8,000-10,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NE and ENE. A thermal anomaly was also visible. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to stay at least 2 km away from the active crater, and 3.5 km away on the N side.

Kadovar | Papua New Guinea : Based on satellite data and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that on 21 February an ash plume from Kadovar rose to an altitude of 1.8 km (6,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted ESE.

Krakatau | Indonesia : PVMBG reported that an event at Anak Krakatau began at 1525 on 23 February and lasted four minutes and 31 seconds. An ash plume rose to about 610 m above sea level and drifted ENE. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 5-km radius hazard zone from the crater.

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported that during 15-21 February the volume of the lava dome in Merapi’s summit crater was unchanged from the previous few weeks. There were no apparent morphological changes; most of the extruded lava fell into the upper parts of the Gendol River drainage on the SE flank. White emissions rose as high as 375 m above the crater rim. On 18 February multiple block-and-ash flows traveled at most 1 km down the Gendol drainage. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to remain outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Sabancaya | Peru : Observatorio Vulcanológico del Sur del IGP (OVS-IGP) and Observatorio Vulcanológico del INGEMMET (OVI) reported that an average of 20 explosions per day occurred at Sabancaya during 18-24 February. Long-period seismic events were recorded, and hybrid earthquakes were infrequent and of low magnitude. Although weather conditions sometimes prevented visual observations, gas-and-ash plumes were seen rising as high as 2.2 km above the crater rim and drifted 30 km SW. MIROVA detected two thermal anomalies. The report noted that the public should not approach the crater within a 12-km radius.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that during 15-22 February Sheveluch’s lava dome continued to grow, extruding blocks on the N side, and producing hot avalanches and fumarolic plumes. A thermal anomaly was identified in satellite images daily. Video and satellite data recorded gas-and-steam plumes with variable ash content rising 4-5 km (13,100-16,400 ft) a.s.l. and drifting W and E. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that crater incandescence at Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible at night during 15-22 February. Small events were occasionally recorded, generating plumes that rose as high as 900 m above the crater rim. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Turrialba | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported that an event at Turrialba on 21 February generated a plume that rose 300 m and drifted NW. Frequent ash pulses were recorded that day. Ash emissions were frequent during 22-24 February, though of variable intensity and duration. Plumes rose as high as 300 m and drifted NW and SW. On 22 February ashfall was reported in Santa Cruz (31 km WSW) and Santa Ana, and a sulfur odor was evident in Moravia (31 km WSW). Cloudy weather conditions prevented visual observations of the vent during 25-26 February.